Morning has Broken

by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners

One of my earliest, happiest memories is dancing around with my mother to Cat Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) album, Teaser and the Firecat. My personal favorite song from that album is: Moonshadow, followed closely by the song: Morning has Broken. The song was originally published as a Christian hymn in 1931 set to the tune of "Bunessan" and the lyrics were written by Eleanor Farjeon.  A slight variation of the tune can be found in a 1957 anthology under the name: "A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)". The song was popularized by Cat Stevens on the aforementioned album.

The Lyrics are as follows:    

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

While not Masonic at all, the lyrics do evoke the idea of the Sun's rising in the East every morning, which is implicated in the opening and closing of every Worshipful Lodge.  When the Worshipful Master asks the Senior Warden: "Why in the East?"  The answer is returned: "As the sun rises in the East to open and govern the day, so Rises the Worshipful Master in the East to open and govern his lodge, set the craft to work and give them proper instruction."  It also features prominently in the duties of the Junior and Senior Warden albeit each of them represents the Sun at different stages of the day.  

The Sun is also represented by one of the Lesser Lights, which are thus explained: "As the Sun rules the day and the moon governs the night, so should the Worshipful Master endeavor to rule and govern his lodge with equal regularity."  The idea is that there is no creation without the union of opposites.  The Sun and Moon are both required to create a new day, and the Worshipful Master is required to not only govern over his lodge but to create a new Mason. The candidate is in darkness (representing ignorance, but also symbolically the night), and only with the help of the Worshipful Master (the Sun) rising in the east and bringing the candidate to "Light" does he become a Mason.  The degrees are alchemical stages of purification, culminating with the Master Mason degree, where the base metal (lead) becomes a noble metal (gold); or the new Master Mason is reborn after the Symbolic Death of the old Master.  This is the never-ending cycle of life, death, and rebirth which is played out by the sun daily and which will continue to be the case for approximately another 10 billion years.  

It is appropriate then that the Sun and Freemasonry be so linked.  The hope is that Freemasonry will be as everlasting as the Sun.  So, maybe the next time you listen to "Morning has Broken", or witness a sunrise, you can think about these themes.  The Sun is that constant hope of a new beginning or renewal of the day.  So maybe it's also appropriate that I hold dear my memories of Cat Stevens, because the Sun and Freemasonry, like my mother's love, are a constant in my life. 


WB Darin A. Lahners is our Co-Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282, and a member of the Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine. You can reach him by email at

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